There was nothing left. Naruto stared at the torn apart village blankly. “Sensei?” a boy beside whispered softly. “What happened?”
Naruto shook his head. He had no answers. Konoha had received an SOS signal from the small farming village and Naruto and his team had been deployed immediately. That had only been an hour or so ago. He had thought they would arrive to see a battle of sorts, or anything… Instead they were greeted with a small village that looked as if a bomb had been set off in the center. The houses were torn to pieces, some with fires still burning in and around them. Bodies were tossed around the village like dolls in a child’s room after a tantrum.
“Let’s go,” Naruto whispered to the three students beside him. The two females in is group stuck together, as was normal for them, and the boy moved individually, keeping his distance from his team, but also not venturing off too far. Naruto watched them with a hint of pride in his eyes. He had been their sensei for a year now.
He shook his head as they started through the streets of the village. Everyone Naruto checked was dead, but there was no sign of what killed them. Some of the bodies looked like that might have been attacked by an animal, but none of those wounds were fatal.
Naruto knelt in front of a certain body and looked it over. The arms were covered in scratches that were too jagged to come from a Kunai. This person had obviously tried to defend himself, but the way the body wasn’t twisted in any way that suggested he had died fighting. Instead, he looked rather peaceful, other than the scratched on his arm. “That doesn’t make any sense,” Naruto whispered. This man had tried to put up a fight by the defensive wounds on his body… but he had died peacefully, or at least that’s how it appeared.
Each body that Naruto stopped to examine showed the same pattern. The person seemed to have defended themselves in some way, some even died clinging to their weapons, but they all seemed to have died peacefully and calmly.
“Sensei!” the male student called. Naruto jumped. He had almost forgotten that the kids were there. He stood and ran to where the voice had come from.
“What is it, Ansei?” Naruto asked. The black and white haired child was kneeling in front of the body of a young girl.
“She’s alive…” Ansei whispered, turning his pale violet eyes to his sensei.
Naruto’s eyes widened and he hurried to the young girl. He knelt beside Ansei to get a closer look. She looked a little younger than the members of his team; about twelve. Her hair was the color of blood. Naruto gently placed his hand on her throat, feeling the soft pump of blood.
“Taya, Kairi, we’re going!” Naruto called. The two girls appeared silently behind their sensei as Naruto lifted the child in his arms.
“The only survivor?” Kabuto asked. They were now in a small clinic. Naruto nodded slowly. “That doesn’t make any sense. She should be dead.”
“What do you mean?” Naruto asked. The children were outside with the other children in the orphanage. It was also a good time for Ansei to visit his mother.
“She has no chakra.”
“Impossible. Ansei himself saw her chakra signal.”
“Well, it’s gone now,” Kabuto concluded. He stood, straightening out his black and white uniform silently. “Other than that, I don’t see many wounds on her. Just a few on the arms. Have you sent a report to Obito-sama?” Naruto shook his head.
“The orphanage was closer than the village.”
“Are you going back tonight?”
“No. I figured you and Ansei would want to spend some time together, after all.” Kabuto nodded slowly and turned back to the red-haired girl with a mix of pity and understanding.
“And you saw no evidence of what caused this attack?”
“I didn’t,” Naruto answered. “It all seemed so surreal… Like nothing made sense.”
Kabuto smiled sadly at the girl. “We’ll figure this out, but you should make your report, Naruto-san. I will take care of her.”
“Thank you, Kabuto.”
The door behind them opened and in stepped another Hyuuga. Her dark hair fell almost to her ankles. She bowed deeply at the two men. “Good evening, Naruto-san,” she greeted.
“Hinata,” Naruto greeted with an equal bow.
“How is the girl?”
“She should be fine,” Kabuto reported. “None of the wounds are fatal. I will give you updates,” he promised the orange-clad sensei.
“Thank you,” Naruto said with another bow as he left the room.
Kabuto sat down beside the bed again. Hinata came up to him. She wore the same uniform as he did. “How is Ansei doing?” Kabuto asked.
“Good,” Hinata said warmly. “As are the other two children. They told me about the village this child was found it. It’s terrible.”
Kabuto nodded. He knew how the girl would feel when she woke up to find that she was the sole survivor of some battle or attack. “We’ll do what we can for her, and then perhaps she can go to the Leaf Village,” Kabuto assured the woman. “But, if not, she will always have a home here.”
The village look entirely different from the one that Boruto called home. His wide, pale blue eyes stared blankly at the village before him. Instead of the village that had been built in the crater created by Pain’s attack, he was staring at a village that seemed untouched by such a disaster. The Hokage monument still held his grandfather and the Senju brothers, but it didn’t hold Kakashi, Tsunade or Naruto. Instead, it held a face that Boruto didn’t recognize.
“Sarada…?” Boruto whispered nervously.
“I see it,” the girl beside him said quietly. He felt Himawari’s hand tighten around his. Boruto offered his sister a reassuring smile.
“Don’t worry, Hima-chan,” he said, trying to sound positive. “We just gotta find mom or dad and figure out what’s going on!” But what was going on? It had been Boruto’s idea to run away from the village, but they had only been gone a single night. It wasn’t enough time for the entire layout of the village to change. “Genjutsu?” Boruto asked.
Sarada shook her head. “No,” she muttered. “This isn’t a genjutsu.”
Boruto sighed. “Boruto… I want to go home!” Himawari whimpered softly.
“It’s okay!” Boruto said with a smile. “Don’t worry about it, Hima-chan.”
“Yeah!” Sarada said, smiling as well. “Let’s go find our parents!” Boruto nodded. He reached down and picked up Himawari, holding her tightly.
“Let’s go!” Boruto and Sarada nodded at each other and started into the unfamiliar village.
As the small trio moved through the village, Boruto became more and more lost and he held onto his sister tighter, making sure that Sarada was close by at all times. This didn’t make any sense. Even the buildings were older. Almost every building in his version of Konoha was less than twenty years old, but here he was staring at buildings that actually had enough time to get some wear on them. “Where are we going…?” Sarada asked finally.
Boruto stopped walking with that realization. He had no idea where they were going. Obviously Naruto wasn’t Hokage anymore, so making their way to the Hokage mansion would mean nothing, but they had no idea where else to look. “We should start with the Hokage,” Boruto concluded after a moment of silence. “If anything, he’ll know where to find my dad…” Surely they wouldn’t let the Jinchuuriki of the Leaf Village out of their sight.
“That’s a good idea,” Sarada muttered. The two started again, turning a corner only to be slammed into by another boy. Himawari yelped softly and Boruto looked down at the child on that had fallen to the ground. He was Boruto’s age with long, hot pink hair with red highlights. His bright blue eyes stared up at the people who he had run in to. “S-sorry!” the boy said as he scrambled to stand. Boruto looked the child over as he tried to wipe off the dust his salmon colored yukata. He looked at the dark crimson obi and groaned softly. It was dirty.
“Hello,” Boruto greeted cautiously. The boy bowed.
“If you’ll excuse me…” He tried to push past them, but was stopped by Sarada.
“Hey, do you think you could help us?” she asked.
The boy looked at the three, pondering the question. In the following silence, he turned to look back frequently and he shifted his weight from foot to foot uncomfortably. “We need to find Naruto,” Boruto added. That grabbed the child’s attention completely.
“What do you need him for?” he asked with a guarded tone.
“Well, you see…”
Sarada held up her hand, cutting him off. “We need to speak with him.”
“Y-yeah… I’ll take you to him,” the boy said. “Let’s go! We need to hurry!” Before they could leave, however, another trio of children rounded the corner.
“There you are, Taiyaki! Thought you could run off, did you?”
The pinkette yipped softly and turned his back to the ground to face the new group. Boruto tried to see if he could recognize any of the children in the cell in front of him, but he didn’t. One looked like he could be part of the Nara clan. He had on a simple dark green button-up shirt that was lazily tucked into his brown capris. He also had the Nara symbol on his shoulder, but even with that detail, Boruto wasn’t sure. He had never seen a blonde Nara before. The one on the left looked like he could be from the Aburame clan, except he was more than willing to show off the skin that Uncle Shino was usually so eager to hide and he had two grey triangular markings like Uncle Kiba did.
The leader of the group, the one that had spoken, was definitely a Hyuuga. The girl had long, dark hair. Her outfit looked like those of a shrine maiden, except the bottoms were black and tope was a cream color. Her pale violet eyes glared down at the pink-haired boy.
“What do you want, Ansho?” the boy, Taiyaki, it seemed, grumbled.
“Just wanted to see why you think you can just get away from us without saying “good-bye,” is all,” the Hyuuga snapped.
“A-about that… You see, I gotta take these three to see my dad…”
“Dad?” Boruto asked. “We don’t need to see your dad! We need to see my dad!”
“B-but… You said you needed to see Naruto,” Taiyaki whispered.
Boruto opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off by the Hyuuga. “While this is all fascinating, Taiyaki, you haven’t paid your dues yet. Didn’t you want a rematch?”
“He has had enough, Ansho,” the Aburame grumbled, crossing his arms.
“I’ll tell you when he’s had enough!” she snapped.
“Seriously, though,” the Nara-looking one grumbled. “This is troublesome, Ansho. You keep messing with that kid and someone’ll come after you, especially his parents.”
“As if they’d touch me,” she retorted. “They wouldn’t dare! I am part of the esteem Hyuuga Clan!”
The Aburame chuckled slightly. “Yeah. The lower branch is so revered…” he grumbled with a smug grin.
“Hey!” Boruto shouted. “What is going on here?! Who are any of you?”
Ansho shook her head slowly. “Name’s Ansho, brat,” she snapped. “This here is Nara Senbei, and that moron is Aburame-Inuzuka Nomi. Oh, and that waste of life before you is Taiyaki.”
The pinkette narrowed his eyes at the girl. “As for what’s going on… I’m not sure. You said you needed Naruto, right?” Boruto nodded. “Well… Then I can take you to him.” Boruto blinked and took a step back, stumbling with all this new information. Himawari whimpered softly and he stroked her back gently. “You… don’t look so good,” Taiyaki noted. “Ansho, I’ll fight you later if you want, but I want to take care of these three.”
The Hyuuga narrowed her eyes, but she seemed to notice that this was a serious matter. “Fine, fine, you little brat.”
Taiyaki sighed deeply as the group turned and left. Nomi offered the pinkette a sympathetic smile before following after the other two. “Yeesh, what’s her problem?” Sarada asked quietly.
Taiyaki shrugged. “She’s in a perpetual bad mood, but she just doesn’t like me, I guess.”
“There’s a lot of reasons,” Taiyaki grumbled. “And I don’t really want to go into them right now if that’s okay. Come on… let’s get you to Naruto.” Boruto nodded and followed after the child. He looked around them as they walked through. It seemed like he was walking through a distorted dream. Everything looked like it should be familiar, but he wasn’t sure where he had seen it. “So… Why do you want to see my dad?”
That sent a shiver down Boruto’s back. Was Naruto not their father here…? “We think he might be able to help us,” Boruto answered carefully.
“Are you sure you don’t want to see the Hokage?” Taiyaki asked.
“No, Naruto will probably be better.”
“Okay… but he might not be home from his mission. Mom probably is home, though.” Boruto nodded his thanks and stole a look at Sarada. She shook her head slowly. To Boruto, she looked just as lost and confused as he felt. Himawari was holding on to her brother for dear life, shaking slightly in his arms. He tried to calm her down by rubbing her back, but nothing seemed to be working.
The group of four fell into an awkward silence. Boruto didn’t like it. Taiyaki seemed like a good kid, for the most part, but he wasn’t sure he trusted anyone in this strange world. Stories of what Tobi had tried to do to their world made him weary. This all seemed a little too perfect.
Finally the group stopped at a small, single family home. It was quaint, with a small porch and a beautiful garden in front of it. “Mom! I’m home! Is dad?” Taiyaki called when they walked inside.
Boruto’s heart dropped when the woman appeared in the entrance. “Tai-kun!” Sakura gasped. “Why are you home so early, young man?” She moved over to the child and squatted down in front of him. He turned away from his mother. “Shoes off,” she teased, kissing him on the cheek. It was then that she noticed the three unfamiliar children standing on the stone floor. “Taiyaki, who are your friends.”
“Name’s Boruto, and this is my sister, Himawari,” Boruto introduced, trying to keep his voice from shaking.
“M-mom…?” Sarada whimpered softly. Sakura blinked and turned to the girl.
“This is Uchiha Sarada!” Boruto introduced quickly.
“Taiyaki… Who are these children?”
The boy shrugged. “I don’t know. They wanted to talk to dad.”
Sakura turned her attention to Sarada. Boruto looked at her carefully. She didn’t look any different than he remembered her. So, dad married Sarada’s mom in this twisted dream? He concluded.
“Sweetie, why did you call me mom?” Sakura asked gently. She rested her hand on Sarada’s shoulder. Boruto flinched when Sarada pulled back almost violently.
“Don’t touch me!” Sarada snapped. Boruto wanted to reach out to her. She was usually the more level-headed of the two, though not nearly as level-headed as Mitsuki. To see her breaking down almost made him want to follow her.
“Sarada-chan,” Boruto whispered. The Uchiha shook her head.
“This is insane!” She spun around to leave, only to find herself face to face with the former Hokage himself.
Boruto bit his lip as he turned around to face his father. “Daddy!” Himawari called, wiggling out of Boruto’s grip and running to the man. Boruto looked up at him with a hint of sadness and confusion. Like Sakura, he didn’t look different. His hair was longer, more like Minato’s, and instead of the orange coat, he wore the normal jounin flak jacket with a bright orange undershirt instead of the standard navy blue.
Naruto looked down at the child clinging to his leg with confusion in his eyes. “Daddy?” Sakura repeated. Naruto blushed slightly and shrugged.
“I-I’m sorry!” Boruto gasped suddenly. He grabbed his sister away from the imposter. “We have to go!” He grabbed Sarada’s arm and pushed past Naruto to get back outside.
“Hey, kids! Wait!” Naruto called, but Boruto didn’t stop running. He wanted to cry. Sarada was already crying and Himawari too was sobbing quietly into his shoulder. “Wait up!” Naruto called again. Boruto turned to see that both he and Sakura were following them.
“Should we stop?” Boruto asked Sarada. She shrugged, leaving Boruto to make the choice. After a few more moments of running, he stopped. Sarada continued for a few more meters before she too stopped. Boruto set his sister down so she could go to Sarada while Boruto grabbed a kunai from his pouch.
Naruto stopped instantly and held his hands up to show that he wasn’t armed. Sakura stopped a little way behind Naruto to give them all some space. “It’s okay,” Naruto said gently. “No one is going to hurt you.” Boruto narrowed his eyes and tightened his grip on the weapon. “It’s okay,” Naruto repeated, even calmer than before. “Just tell me what’s wrong.” Boruto took a step back. How could they explain this to Naruto or Sakura? And where was Sasuke? None of this made sense.
“Let us go.”
“To where?” Naruto asked.
“I don’t know,” Boruto admitted.
“Well,” Naruto said slowly. “Why don’t you three come back with us and we can decide together what to do, okay?” Boruto took another step back. Naruto also took a step back, trying to give the frightened children some space. “Come on.”
Boruto shook his head. This wasn’t his father; at least not anymore. Even if it was in their reality, he still wouldn’t be running to his dad’s arms. Naruto had proven time and time again that his job as Hokage was more important to him than his family. Boruto raised his hand and a moment later he heard footsteps running away from them. Naruto didn’t react, but Sakura did as the two females of their group took off running. Boruto took a few more steps back.
“You don’t have to run,” Naruto whispered. “We want to help you.”
Boruto took the knife in his hand and hurled it at Naruto before taking off after Sarada and his sister. He didn’t even wait to see if his attack hit. Luckily, it seemed that Naruto either didn’t have the speed he had in their world or he just wasn’t taking this chase seriously because it wasn’t long before the trio lost him.
They kept running through the streets of the village, staring up at unfamiliar faces and getting weird looks from the villagers as they did so. Eventually, they stopped in an old, abandoned building. It was getting dark as clouds rolled in, threatening a storm. Boruto took Himawari from Sarada and went about settling her down. They stayed silent as the storm outside began and the day wore on.
“What are we going to do…? Boruto asked finally. It was nearing night time. Sarada jumped, startled after so long in silence.
“I… Don’t know,” she whispered after a moment. “Your dad and my mom… and they have a son?” Boruto nodded. Taiyaki was, for all purposes, their half-brother.
“I don’t know either,” Boruto said. “Maybe if we can find your dad or my mom.”
“You don’t think they are together, do you?”
Boruto blinked. That thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. Who was his mother with if she wasn’t with Naruto? He had heard story after story about how Naruto was his mother’s only choice in life. How was she in this world where Naruto didn’t pick her? Did she move on? “I doubt it,” he said finally.
“Me too,” Sarada agreed. “Are we staying here tonight, then?”
“Yeah. Tomorrow we should try to talk to the Hokage.”
“And tell him what, Boruto?” Sarada snapped. “Are we just going to walk in there and say ‘hello, Hokage-sama, we’re from an alternate reality where we’re the children of Naruto and Hinata and Sasuke and Sakura? Oh, and, by the way, the village we’re from was destroyed and then rebuilt!’ We’d be thrown into some sort of insane asylum!”
“Then what do you think we should do?”
“We have to make up a story and stick with it. Then we need to gather information. Dad can enter through dimensions, so maybe we can find him and see if he can tell us anything.”
Boruto nodded. “Sounds good to me. But first, we need a story.”
“Naruto… Tai’s in bed. Are you coming?” Sakura said quietly. The blonde shook his head. Those kids had looked terrified, especially the blonde. “You’re worried about them, aren’t you?”
Naruto nodded. “I already called Obito-sama about them.” He clenched his fists.
Sakura rested her hands on Naruto’s shoulder. “I know this must be hard for you, but they looked to be in good health.”
“The attack was only a few days ago,” Naruto muttered. “They could very well be from that farming village. They had no headbands.”
“The girl was introduced as an Uchiha,” Sakura pointed out.
“The little one called me daddy,” Naruto continued as if he didn’t hear Sakura. He had felt a connection to those children. “You don’t feel like you’ve met them before?” Sakura shook her head.
“I’m sure they’ll be fine, Naruto,”
Naruto shook his head. He turned and kissed her on the forehead. “I’m going to go look for them. If I’m not back by morning, I probably went to stay at my dad’s house. Tell Tai that I’ll see him later, okay?”
Sakura frowned slightly. “Alright, alright. Maybe you should call Hinata-san,” she suggested. “They will need a place to stay, after all.” Naruto nodded. The orphanage would be good for the children. He had been there earlier that week after dropping off that girl from the village. Maybe they are from that village, Naruto thought. While the children didn’t look like they were in terrible condition, it was possible that they had been from the village, but hadn’t been in the village at the time of the attack. It was too much of a coincidence that these three children appeared in the village shortly after an entire village was murdered in a matter of minutes.
Whatever the reason and whoever they are, those kid need help… Naruto thought.